(As always, note that the deal with the syndicator requires that this column appears here a week after it has been distributed to the newspapers)
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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, SEPT. 21, 2012
BY BOB FRANKEN
It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see a TV ad like this: a shot of the president and his voice-over, “I am Barack Obama, and I approve this message.”
It would then show nothing more than Mitt Romney, speaking in May before a Florida meeting of fat-cat donors, saying: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president ... who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them ... these are people who pay no income tax. ... My job is not to worry about those people.”
At the end, we’d see Mr. Obama again, answering, “Wow. I sure don’t approve of THAT message!”
The Democrats don’t seem to need a winning strategy, since Mitt manages to nudge them down the path to victory every time he opens his mouth. Fresh off his clumsy and desperate efforts to exploit an incendiary situation in the Mideast, he is next caught on a hidden camera displaying his silver-spoon contempt for all those he considers unworthy.
That little hidden camera gem came to us courtesy of Mother Jones magazine just a day after Romney wise man Ed Gillespie told reporters that the campaign would be retooling. Little did he know that the tool would be a verbal hammer that Mitt would use to pound himself on the head.
Once again, the makeover had been run over. How can an effort to overcome the candidate’s image as an inarticulate, out-of-touch, super-rich guy possibly succeed when he repeatedly is caught making comments that demonstrate he is an inarticulate, out-of-touch, super-rich guy? Even his running mate, Paul Ryan, used the word “inarticulate.”
Mitt and his troops were ready to show they are no slouches when it comes to class warfare, firing right back at Barack Obama for using the R-word, as in “Redistribution.” Of course, their opposition-research people had to go back to 1998, to video of then Illinois state Sen. Obama at a Loyola University event stating, “I actually believe in redistribution.” Take that, Democrats!
Setting aside that the remark was made 14 years ago and grossly taken out of context, let’s talk about redistribution. What about all that movement of wealth to Mitt and his super-rich buddies? Their manipulations have taken the hard-earned savings of the middle class and redistributed them to their smaller and smaller group of Hood Robins.
It’s no wonder so many of the GOP down-ticket candidates are putting as much distance as they can between themselves and Romney’s latest gem. To his credit, he didn’t back away from it, saying only that his words were “not elegantly stated.”
To make sure no one thought his rigid views were limited to just this country, at that very same fundraiser he displayed his simple-minded world view. On tape, we hear him responding to a question about the prospects for peace in the Middle East, dismissing the possibility of a Palestinian state: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way.” Maybe that would be worthy of another TV ad for the Democrats.
In fact, they could run a full flight of them, simply replaying the words of fellow Republicans from the primary campaign. Remember how Rick Perry described Mitt Romney as a “vulture capitalist”? Or when Newt Gingrich accused him of business practices that amounted to “looting.”
Everybody is now pointing to the debates as being make-or-break. Maybe Obama shouldn’t show up, and just let Mitt Romney speak. So far, he has been the Democrats’ best weapon.
© 2012 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.